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EngadgetMay 23, 2022
Meta will share Facebook's political ad targeting data with researchers
Meta is finally peeling back the curtain on how political and election ads are targeted on Facebook. The company is making information about how political and "social issue" ads are targeted available to researchers and the public, Meta said in an update.

Researchers who are part of the company's Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT) program will get access to the most detailed information. "This data will be provided for each individual ad and will include information like the interest categories chosen by advertisers," Facebook writes.

The company had previously experimented with making some targeting data available to researchers via FORT last year, but the information was only available for political ads during a three-month period before the 2020 election. Now, researchers will also be able access "all social issue, electoral and political ads run globally since August 2020."

Meta is also making a more limited amount of political ad-targeting data available to the public via its Ad Library. That update, expected in July, will allow anyone to see more general information about how specific Facebook Pages are targeting their ads. "This update will include data on the total number of social issue, electoral and political ads a Page ran using each type of targeting (such as location, demographics and interests) and the percentage of social issue, electoral and political ad spend used to target those options," the company writes. "For example, the Ad Library could show that over the last 30 days, a Page ran 2,000 ads about social issues, elections or politics, and that 40% of their spend on these ads was targeted to ‘people who live in Pennsylvania' or ‘people who are interested in politics.'"



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